Full STE²AM Ahead


On a fairly stressful Tuesday afternoon, I sat down with the red-haired Mr. McNeish and a plaid-wearing Mr. Castor  to discuss their newest brain child: the STE²AM Initiative.  The acronym STE²AM stands for science, technology, entrepreneurship, engineering, art, and mathematics.  Growing up in the Mohawk school system as students, we’ve all witnessed the evolution of this movement.  Children our age were the first invited to STEM camp in elementary school.    An extra “E” and an “A” later, this initiative has solidified itself in Mohawk’s curriculum.

This year, rooms in the elementary have been repurposed, in an attempt to promote project-based learning.  These rooms are meant to incorporate all six facets of STE²AM.  The first activity, for example, will involve the sixth grade students.  Groups will have three days to build a device that, when powered by wind energy, will lift varying amounts of pennies.  The students will be given a problem and a multitude of materials, but no direction from teachers.    Mr. McNeish stated the purpose of

STE²AM was to “…get students to think about solving problems without the teachers driving the solution.”

In the high school, two classrooms are being retrofitted with tools, equipment, lasers, and 3D printers.  As Mr. Castor explained, “the purpose for those rooms is to provide an environment for hands-on application of all subjects.”  Due to the age and maturity of students, the STE²AM initiative in the high school will be incorporated differently than in the elementary school.  Teachers of any subject will be able to use the rooms as they wish, and allow students to create their own solutions to the problem.  Recently, Mr. Castor and his anatomy class completed the Vitruvian Man Project.  The extra space allowed his students to analyze dimensions of the body.

Clearly, the STE²AM initiative is working itself into Mohawk’s curriculum for good.  Students in both the high school and elementary will benefit from the freedom to solve problems their own way.  As the year progresses, STE²AM will allow more and more students to enjoy a project-based learning and a creative outlet.